"You have done well to reach the Rift," said the One. It raised its six arms to its sides, hands outstretched. Shining light enveloped each of its hands. The light was angelic in its glimmer, and the One's posture was just as celestial – it looked like a many-armed bodhisattva standing firm in meditation, though here, it was in meditative intent to destroy.
"But this is where your struggle ends."
The glow around the One's six hands turned into atomic rings that rotated around each fist. A colossal amount of energy began to surge from each fist, stretching the space in a spiral twist.
The Hero grit his teeth as he stared at the buildup of energy. The sheer amount of heat being given off by the incoming attack was enough to rival the surface of the sun. Had the Hero not mastered his power to its absolute limits, allowing him to envelop every atom of his body in an invincible 'shield', he would have been sundered into atoms right then and there.
"I will utilize the power of your second strongest defender," said the One. "The one you knew as 'Superforce'. He gave me the greatest fight thus far. I will honor his struggle in my own against you. He believed he controlled the power of fusion.
However, with my superior processing power and adaptive physical perfection granted to me by the Grey, I can unlock the full potential of this ability: the capability to manipulate the cosmic energies of the universe."
The swirling spirals of distorted space around each hand turned into what looked like miniature galaxies, filled with tiny little star speckles and milky cosmic streaks.
"Power rivaling the creation of the universe. Can you withstand this?" said the One as it slowly began to bring all six of its fists together, aiming them at the Hero. "No, you must withstand it. Elsewise that tiny planet you defend will be no more."
"Give me your best shot," said the Hero. All he did against the grand, fundamental force bending display of the enemy was raise his shield. It was a humble display, and yet, the sheer simplicity of it made its declaration of resistance that much more impactful. "Just know that if you don't take me out with this, I'll reflect it back to you and win."
"Interesting. It has been long since a backwards civilization has managed resistance to this degree. Very well. I will entertain your challenge. You claim your meager power can turn my strength against me. Prove it." The One slammed its fists together, combining its six miniature galaxies together into one orb of cosmic radiance.
The One pressed its hands down on the orb, each of its arms trembling in exertion. Cracks began to spiderweb across the surface of the sphere. The energy contained within, constantly magnifying exponentially upon itself in a reaction of unfathomable proportions, got closer and closer to bursting out.
"Now, begone." The One, with one final crushing move, shattered the orb entirely.
It was as if the universe was a liquid and the One had popped open a hole in its container. A beam of energy comprised of countless miniature stars – red, dwarf, blue, novas – streamed forth in a deluge of primordial devastation that easily dwarfed the tiny blue planet known as earth.
The Hero always had the ability to read the general energy levels of other beings. When he saw this incoming attack, his vision shattered, his eyes exploding like popped balloons, unable to comprehend the scale of this attack.
But even against this, the Hero stood firm. He even smiled, closing his eyes as trails of blood streaked down his face.
"It isn't just my challenge," said the Hero. "It's ours."
The Hero's shield began to glow. Threads of energy, so faint that they were almost invisible, rippled through the darkness of space. They came from the planet behind him, the world that looked up to him, placing all their hopes on the symbol of his protection: his shield.
The threads circulated around the shield, creating a supersized lattice that extended outwards using the shield as a centerpoint. In a near instant, it covered the entirety of the planet in a mesh of defense.
The One's attack roared through the entire world, like it was a pebble caught in the midst of a raging stream.
"What is this?" said the One.
"It's a combination of all our efforts. All of humanity working together. I don't know if it's ever happened before or if it will ever happen again, but I sure as hell am not letting this chance slip by now," said the Hero. "The dimensional web you use to maintain mental links with every single one of your soldiers – the woman I love reverse-engineered it.
The biggest governments and corporations in the world helped add our version of that web to Cyberspace – the space all of us are now linked to using mass produced neuralinks for humans and the Voice's hivemind for the variants.
Every man, woman, child, and even variant are looking up at the sky right now, watching our battle, putting all their hopes, their dreams, their futures – all of it on my, no, our shield."
The planetary lattice began to glow from green to red, cracking in parts. The Hero's body began to turn into pure white energy, slowly disassembling as he channeled power beyond anything his mortal body was meant to comprehend.
Yet, as the Hero had done so many times before, he stood tall. He stood strong.
He did not yield.
His shield did not fall. He would not let it. He would let his entire body disintegrate before he dropped that shield. No, even if his body was gone, his will would keep it up.
The indomitable will of the human spirit - now was the time for it to prove its worth against the cruel inevitability of destruction that the universe promised.
An indeterminate amount of time passed. It was impossible to accurately tell. When energy on this scale clashed, energy that drew from manipulating the fundamental fabrics of existence, time and space and everything that one took for granted in reality became meaningless.
But there was one undeniable truth at the end of it.
The Hero...was still standing.
His shield was still raised.
The lattice around the planet was completely red, completely covered in cracks, liable to break apart with just one more tiny touch, but it was still there.
"And now-," said the Hero. His shield glowed with the energy of the cosmos, the shine of countless different stars swimming across its surface. He smiled and aimed the shield at the One, at the Rift behind it. "We win."
The power of destructive creation stored within the shield unleashed forth towards the One.
With that, humanity proved itself worthy to survive.